Things Pathfinder does better than 5th ed


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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I think it's a mental habit worth breaking in moving from PF to 5E.

In PF "to hit" is a measure of how good you are at fighting, however in 5E it's much less significant - class features are where martial skill are really embedded.

A wizard will hit reasonably often in melee but will be nowhere near as effective as a fighter with the same stats - they won't have many rounds of zero impact, but they're not going to get close to the fighter even if they have the same 'natural aptitude'.


Dustin Ashe wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
I'm actually not a big fan of how Proficiency Bonuses work in this game. I like that they don't get penalized for multiclassing (though the fact that ASIs ARE irks me to no end) but everybody being equally good at fighting as another class with the same Str or Dex is weird. The Wizard should not have as accurate a swing as the Fighter.
Except I've never seen a 5e wizard with as good a STR/DEX score as a 5e fighter.

That's a fault of character building than anything. A Wizard in 5e doesn't need much of anything. There's very little benefit to pumping Int to extreme levels since bounded save bonuses and DCs and a de facto limit of 20 on any given stat anyway mean you're about as good as you can get with a 16 Int +2 from race. That leaves you plenty of stats to nab a 16 Dex and plink with a crossbow or something on off rounds, particularly since you get Dex to damage now and want a high Dex to avoid being hit anyway.

Your classic Elf Wizard especially has little excuse for not having a 16-18 Dex.

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
I'm actually not a big fan of how Proficiency Bonuses work in this game. I like that they don't get penalized for multiclassing (though the fact that ASIs ARE irks me to no end) but everybody being equally good at fighting as another class with the same Str or Dex is weird. The Wizard should not have as accurate a swing as the Fighter.
Except I've never seen a 5e wizard with as good a STR/DEX score as a 5e fighter.

Or as relevant a weapon. My low level abjuration wizard waded into combat with imps that he couldn't firebolt, and sure he could hit them with his dagger, but trust me, 1d4+2 is not very impressive compared to what the melee classes were doing.

Sundakan wrote:


That's a fault of character building than anything. A Wizard in 5e doesn't need much of anything. There's very little benefit to pumping Int to extreme levels since bounded save bonuses and DCs and a de facto limit of 20 on any given stat anyway mean you're about as good as you can get with a 16 Int +2 from race. That leaves you plenty of stats to nab a 16 Dex and plink with a crossbow or something on off rounds, particularly since you get Dex to damage now and want a high Dex to avoid being hit anyway.

Your classic Elf Wizard especially has little excuse for not having a 16-18 Dex.

You can't actually PB higher than a 15 in 5e. A 14 dex is reasonable, but getting Int up or Feats would be far preferable to pumping Dex. If you're playing without Feats, my lvl4 and lvl8 would be maxing out Int, thereafter going for Con to get HP and a better con save for concentration.

I also think you're undervaluing the EK.

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Dustin Ashe wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
I'm actually not a big fan of how Proficiency Bonuses work in this game. I like that they don't get penalized for multiclassing (though the fact that ASIs ARE irks me to no end) but everybody being equally good at fighting as another class with the same Str or Dex is weird. The Wizard should not have as accurate a swing as the Fighter.
Except I've never seen a 5e wizard with as good a STR/DEX score as a 5e fighter.

That is one thing Pathfinder does better than 5th Edition.

Going against type.

In 5th Edition, if you want to play an archer, you play a rogue, ranger, or fighter. In PF, if you want to play an archer, you can play Zen Archer monk, an elf wizard with true strike, self-buffing bard or cleric, halfing mounted paladin, etc.

I think I'm using kind of a bad example, but hopefully you get my point.

I'm hoping when the UA book comes out (or whatever it's going to be with all the test archetypes), there will be a lot more fun options. 5E is so module, it is kind of a shame that there aren't more options.

I want more archetypes, more feats, more backgrounds, and more racial options. I think they really missed some interesting design space when they didn't give alter racial versions to half-orcs, tieflings, and half-elves (although half-elves are pretty variable).


I've only played with rolled stats in 5e so far.

The given core array seems to fully support what I'm saying though. 15 14 13 12 10 8 lets you do exactly what I said.

And I may be, but it certainly doesn't look that impressive on paper. It looks just as frustrating and limited as the Arcane Trickster Rogue.

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I've only played with the standard array in 5e so far.

:-)

I've played a Hill Dwarf acolyte Cleric of Life 14 with 14 8 16 (+2 race, +1 Resilience) 10 20 (+1 race, +2/+2 ASI) 12. If I could do it over again, I would swapped Dex and Cha).

I've also played a Half-Elf urchin Rogue (Thief) 7 with 12 16 14 8 14 12 specializing in Parkour (Acrobatics and Athletics Expertise at 1st level, Mobility feat at 4th).

I'm DMing now.

I plan on playing a Wood Elf (folk hero?) Moon Druid next, then a Drow or Tiefling criminal Lore Bard, then a Mountain Dwarf outlander Abjuration Wizard "magus."

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Then I misunderstood, I thought you meant starting with an 18 in Int (16 + 2 racial Int).

EK isn't as versatile as a primary caster of course, as most of your spells are Abj/Evo (except your cantrips which have no limits - and cantrips can go far).
Evocation does give you AoE breadth, which is often a weak point for martials, and Abjuration gives you the fantastic Shield (and situationally fantastic Protection from Evil and Good).
A Fighter is naturally excellent at maintaining Concentration spells as well.

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I "accidentally" took Resilient (Constitution) on my dwarf cleric, and it came in really handy. I never regretted taking that feat. It's like the 3.5/PF Toughness and Great Fortitude and Combat Casting all wrapped up in one feat. Which 5e feats are supposed to do. :-P


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I'm late to the thread but I did read it, not just skip to the last page.

Building characters

Yeah, here is a point where I can understand people preferring Pathfinder. It's like clay vs "Lego"-style bricks. With clay you can just make any shape instantly, but sometimes it's more fun to tinker with the bricks for a while. PF is the bricks in this analogy, you carefully select a bunch of options and fiddly bits and make your character come together. It's on a scale, though. On the "clay to bricks" scale, 5e is more bricksy than something like 3:16 or Fate. I come from a very rules-light background. The first time I ran a game for my (then) new group, I whipped out Fate. They were like "WTF is this! Where are the detailed stats for my cyber arm!" [yeah, I know Fate has ways to stat up a cyber arm in detail, but I was content with just the aspect "Has cyber arm that can do wondrous things". The player, not so much. He expected Shadowrun levels of detail]. When 5e came out it was a godsend because we could find common ground. For me, 5e is the perfect compromise but I can absolutely see someone being in the mood for Pathfinder's style of detailed tinkering.

Difficulty and length of fights
Yeah, 5e at lower levels is very glass-cannony. It can easily look like one side or the other is getting completely smashed in a very one-sided fight. I ran a couple of fights on my own (to simulate) with the exact same combatants a couple of times, and it sometimes gave that impression in favor of the monsters, sometimes in favor of the heroes. I'm glad I did that early on. I never get annoyed when the players trounce the monsters. I know that the other shoe could drop at any moments.

I think this quality is inevitable in games where fights are both quick and carry a real risk. It also means, as has been noted upthread, that there's less of a focus on buffs. Pathfinder gives up the quickness (at least relative to 5e) to avoid or lessen this brutal glass-cannony quality, and I can see someone preferring that. I've grown to accept and even prefer 5e's style, but that's as DM. My players sometimes chafe at this aspect a bit (when their characters die). The good side of this coin is that the sessions aren't combat-centric (more exploration-focused), but the combat and the options and actions taken within it are still meaningful and the choices are difficult. I ran a six-hour session at a con last weekend and we had eight fights (+ four avoided fights through sneaking). Those eight fights took up such a small fraction of the time total, and most of the time was spent on exploration, interacting with the puzzles and the mysteries of the session etc. For me, a perfect mix. But it's a matter of taste, and prefering PF's style is absolutely valid. Many fights were one or two rounds. (Completely off topic, but this is also why I reject the oft-proposed idea to add 13th Age's "escalation die" to 5e. You want to add the cumbersomeness of an extra step of addition to every roll for something that's almost never relevant since the fights are so short.)

Slower release schedule

Quote:
After two and a half years, Pathfinder players had the Core Rulebook, Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat. Combined with very liberal archetyping and multiclassing, a more aggressive Adventure Path release schedule and Player Companion's chock full of new options, there are just far more characters I can make that feel like I've made my own. Which I understand is a delusion, but its a small part of why I enjoy tabletop roleplaying.

Well, both have two adventure paths per year typically. I guess WotC is skipping spring 2017 in favor of Yawning Portal. On the player side, it goes back to the "bricks vs clay" analogy. If you have bricks, you're excited to get new colors and shapes of bricks. If you have clay, you're set for life. Again, I don't mean this to diminish PF. It's well done with all of its bricks and there's a lot of appeal there for the more technical brick afficionados. For me, I'm still exploring what you can do with 5e.

The community
Paizo has built an amazing community.♥

Whip to grab the goblet
The DC setting issue is one I've seen popped up a couple of times in comparisons lately, but it's weird to me. It's 10 to 20 with 15 as default. Coming from games like Fate where DC setting is much more varied, nuanced and arbitrary, it's like a breath of fresh air to just go "15", "15", "15" etc and not have to worry so much. A lot of the time I don't ask for a roll, though, just let things succeed. What they do is more interesting than whether they do it.

MM vs DMG

Quote:
I would argue the MM is much worse than the DMG, I have had to tweak stat blocks quite a bit. I could choose a stat block at random and it doesn't follow the DMG. It really points to how rushed the final tweaks were on the books.

Yeah.. it's weird that they don't mesh together. I prefer the MM's monster math over the DMG's, typically. Or rather, when I use the monsters from the MM, good things happen. When I use the encounter/xp guidelines in the DMG, disasters happen. 5e did a good job overall of "listening to the playtest" but this was one area where they didn't. They released a preview of the encounter math, got lots of backlash, and then released it as canonical anyway. OTOH. Pathfinder and balance is... well, let's put it this way. I think 5e has lots of problems in that area but so does Pathfinder, arguably worse sometimes.

Boring rogue
Part of getting good damage as a rogue is being familiar with the environment to find things that give you advantage or hiding spots. That's interesting to some.

Quote:
The party doesn't want to go along with plans like infiltrating the enemy camp with disguise and deception

That's on them! That's not the game's fault. This is probably the only one so far that I don't think is legitimate. The game allows you to build an arcane trickster, the other players invalidate your character... that's on them. It's like "Why does Magic the Gathering allow me to build a vintage constructed deck when all my friends only want to draft?"

5e pure heritage?
Setting-wise, yeah. Mechanics-wise, not so much. There, it does bring a lot of new things to the table. I've said before, semi-seriously, that whether it's the best or most representative version of D&D, I don't know. It's definitely the best version of Fate. And 5e is my favorite game.

5e fluke?

Quote:
I actually think the 5E PHB especially & the other 2 core rulebooks are amazingly good - so good I almost think they fluked it, not completely of course - but I don't see anything else in 5E up to the same standard.

Honestly, I've thought the same thing. The core books, and to me especially the Starter Set and the basic/OGL stuff, is so much better than the rest of what they've done so far. LMoP is amazing, and I've ran other con games just out of the Starter Set booklets. Again, the game last weekend, all I brought was the screen, the two booklets, the adventure, and pregens w/ some custom options. Our home group has had fun with Curse of Strahd, though, and saw it through to the end. It's probably the best of the released adventures so far (second to LMoP). Which, again... proves the point that 5e overly relies on heritage. :/

Overall, plenty of good reasons to prefer Pathfinder. It's a completely legitimate choice. Personally, I got overwhelmed. Even 2e was too much for me, and when 3e/3.5/PF came out it just melted my mind. These days, after a couple of years of experience first with retroclones/OSR, and then with 5e, I could probably handle PF, esp if restricted to the first couple of levels, starting with the Beginner Box etc etc. But, I'd rather just keep playing and running 5e. (I play in a couple of OSR/retroclone groups, too, but when I DM I go with 5e.)

Also, another thing I didn't see in the thread. Some might argue that converting Paizo adventures and options to 5e is the best of both worlds. But to me, it looks like a lot of work and that it requires a lot of familiarity with both systems. This might be argued in PF's favor; that you can run the adventures as is.

Sovereign Court

Saithor wrote:


I also read that this was done to counter "Munchkins". Which makes the choice baffling, because really the ebst way to do that is make every choice viable, but instead we still have choices that are obviously better than others, and limited options for people who don't go for them.

I could see how an optimizer might see 5E design as an attack on them, but that's just an unfortunate side effect of the design goals. The first was to speed the game up. Being able to level up mid-session was a desired result, which can be done in the time it takes to smoke a cig. The second goal was to lesson the gap between noob and system master that exists in 3.5/PF. System mastery still exists, however, so there really wasn't a "counter munchkins" goal ever in mind.


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I was going to make a long post about my frustration with what most players today consider "choices" and then after typing up a paragraph and a half I abandoned the effort.

If you feel that your "choices" in building characters are too limited in fifth edition, that is your right, I suppose.

My opinion is that it is rare to find any players these days who are willing to make "choices" while playing the game and limit their participation to being obsessed with building their characters.

For me, the game as it is played is where I get all my fun, not in the nuances of having to select from seventeen different classes only after the DM has told you in great detail what the challenges of the adventure will be so that your "choice" of character class, skills, feats, and equipment is matched appropriately.

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Pan wrote:
I could see how an optimizer might see 5E design as an attack on them, but that's just an unfortunate side effect of the design goals. The first was to speed the game up. Being able to level up mid-session was a desired result, which can be done in the time it takes to smoke a cig. The second goal was to lesson the gap between noob and system master that exists in 3.5/PF. System mastery still exists, however, so there really wasn't a "counter munchkins" goal ever in mind.

Personally as an optimizer, I don't feel like 5e is an attack on me. It's really relaxing that the rogue can do rogue things now, just inherently due to the class.

What I miss is finding overlooked options that have high potential like the Shaitain Skin feat in Pathfinder and brewing a build to make them shine.


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@2097: Couldn't quote your post for this reply, because the reply function could not literally copy it all. So in sections

@Character Creation: I mostly agree with you here, 5th edition is not my style of character creation, but I've had to deal with a lot of repeated character designs. Just an example, the only Great Old One warlocks I've ever seen are the ones I've run, most of the time it's either Archfey Enchanters or Hellbound Bladelocks.

@Combat: I can understand the benefits behind the glass-cannon nature, but it also comes with some drawbacks.
-With characters themselves being very glass cannon like, this means that it's a lot easier for them to be killed fast with just a few unlucky rolls. This can help build tension and promote tactical thinking, but it can only be frustrating for players when they die because of some bad rolls and not any fault of their own.
-Shorter combats also mean less tactical thought IMO. There's less time to enact plans and do more complicated means of combat.
-Anti-climax. Either on one end or the other. It does work at lower levels for the humanoid BBEG to go down in only one or two or three rounds of combat, but when things start scaling up to larger fare, then it breaks when I can kill a giant in the same amount of time. Also when I can hire a bunch of hireling to do the same job as me but cheaper.

@Slower Release Schedule: Here's the thing, argue small number of splat versus large, by releasing so few 5e is hurting it's own sales very badly. Outside of the core 3, and Sword Coast and maybe Volo's, the only products on release will appeal to GM's alone. Or maybe one player who wants the GM to run it.

@Whip to grab the Goblet: That's because you sound like a decent guy who doesn't pull stuff like...setting the DC after the skill check. Which I heard was actually encouraged at the playtest. I'm sure this will get replies of "if a GM is like that, just don't play with him." but I just don't like giving too much power to the GM.

Which isn't even going into how it can be confusing to new GMs or how it can mean that character's can have a 50% chance at failing to do something you'd expect a functioning adult to be able to do with ease.

@MM vs DMG: I blame poor editing. And the fact that something weird was going on with that schedule. Anybody else remember the DMG errata being released before the book itself?

@Pure Heritage: This is a big issue. We need a new setting that is not the old ones, because while the old ones are good, how many times have they been ventured into. I've seen a few posts getting exasperted with the next book being Forgotten Realms yet again

@Fluke: I understand the love for Rule-lite systems. I play them from time-to-time. But only with people I know who will not stretch the capabilities to beyond the breaking point, or who will not mess with my character for the heck of it.

Terquem wrote:

I was going to make a long post about my frustration with what most players today consider "choices" and then after typing up a paragraph and a half I abandoned the effort.

If you feel that your "choices" in building characters are too limited in fifth edition, that is your right, I suppose.

My opinion is that it is rare to find any players these days who are willing to make "choices" while playing the game and limit their participation to being obsessed with building their characters.

For me, the game as it is played is where I get all my fun, not in the nuances of having to select from seventeen different classes only after the DM has told you in great detail what the challenges of the adventure will be so that your "choice" of character class, skills, feats, and equipment is matched appropriately.

Some people are builders, who like to do that. And sometimes it's not "how can I be the best?" I have a friend who has practically memorized the entire Pathfinder selection of everything not to optimize, but because he likes to do cool concepts like an inquisitor focused on throwing Star Knives.

And just because people focus on the building of the characters does not mean they don't care about the RP. Most I've met care even more because of the higher investment they've put into the character. I care way more about my PF characters than my D&D 5e characters at the start because I invested much more time into them, and gave them abilities to fit the story I made.

Talos the Fighter in Pathfinder has Weapon Focus (Polearms) to represent his training with a spear since the age of twelve, and has a mechanical benefit to reinforce it. Talos in 5e is no better with a spear than he is with any martial weapon, and gets no opportunity to change this until level 4, at which point his spear technique is just as good as any polearm.

Oh, and also because us Martials can use every source of help we can get, because what we're spending for +1 to-hit the wizard is using to learn Meteor Swarm.

Pan wrote:
I could see how an optimizer might see 5E design as an attack on them, but that's just an unfortunate side effect of the design goals. The first was to speed the game up. Being able to level up mid-session was a desired result, which can be done in the time it takes to smoke a cig. The second goal was to lesson the gap between noob and system master that exists in 3.5/PF. System mastery still exists, however, so there really wasn't a "counter munchkins" goal ever in mind.

Here's the thing, and this is from a non-optimizer (my head swims looking at the feat list for PF), it's not an attack. Even unintentionally, it really doesn't do anything. If anything, it attacks character diversity. If Talos can use any weapon with the same skill till level 4, why do I not just choose the automatic best version of his fighting style and never stop using them? If anything, that reinforces the idea of always choosing the best option, because there's no incentive to try any other weapon.

As for mastery gap, they could have done that without making every character have only a few choices, and as far as speeding up level-ups, yes and no. For the fighter, sure, all he grabs is an increase in BAB and maybe a few other knick-knacks he's locked into. Wizard? Unless the player decided beforehand (which defeats the purpose of mid-session level-ups), then it's going to be a while before they decide which of that levels spell/s they want.


KitsuneWarlock wrote:
I like the interplay between character and mechanics. 5E has the same problem I have with point-buy systems. While I've played and continue to play the same point buy systems for years, I recognize that a large number of players I play with have characters that feel far more mechanically shallow than any character I've played in Pathfinder, where the class/skill based system forces your character to do more than one thing better than a human commoner.

I feel 100% the opposite. I don't know what point-buy system you are referencing, but I know my experience in Pathfinder is that you have a few tools that work for a character because you have taken the half-dozen choices to make them work well and you are simply mediocre at everything else. Unless maybe you are simply making the statement that you prefer the crazy scale levels 1 to 20 in Pathfinder covers where a stiff breeze brushing against a boar's back kills you at level 1 but by level 10 it couldn't even get within range to attack you.

I will always find the most mechanically satisfying ones to be the systems with better mechanic resolution - and those tend to be exclusive to point buy games like GURPS or Runequest. Systems where each swing of the sword shapes a battle and spells require diversifying your character's build, instead of being wrapped into a class structure with automatic progression.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Are you (or Kryx?) accounting for the 'wasted' hit points fewer, more powerful attacks gives you? I think that's worth something even if it costs some DPR.

No, and that was one of my primary critiques of his analysis. However, he has since added a "kills per round" analysis, which I believe takes into account the average HP of a creature expected to fight at the appropriate level.

As for TWF vs 2H; he believes that TWF should be at 95% of 2H.


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bookrat wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Are you (or Kryx?) accounting for the 'wasted' hit points fewer, more powerful attacks gives you? I think that's worth something even if it costs some DPR.

No, and that was one of my primary critiques of his analysis. However, he has since added a "kills per round" analysis, which I believe takes into account the average HP of a creature expected to fight at the appropriate level.

As for TWF vs 2H; he believes that TWF should be at 95% of 2H.

Yeah, I think that would be about where I'd peg it too. Close but losing out to a true specialist.

I don't really like his spreadsheet, but I'm glad he (and you) have shared it with the world. Cheers.


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@Sathor;

Samey characters
I've seen an equal share of GOO warlocks ("lovelocks" we call them) and fiendlocks and no feylocks so far. But, I agree that many characters and "builds" are mechanically samey; the differences come in the form of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws. One of the first Charlatans we had at our table was one of mine. In a Greyhawk game, I traveled the countryside posing as the Duchess of Veluna w forged papers, clothes, everything, and that had much more bearing on the game than my class choice, which was a pretty vanilla dex-Champion archer/fencer. I had my combat stats one one side of an A7 index card and the traits and flaws and stuff on the other side, which was the side I kept facing up most of the time. My character was very lovesick and got in lots of insp-yielding trouble that way.

Combat
All three of the drawbacks you list for combat, I've seen happen at my table. Characters dying unfairly, less focus on moment-to-moment tactics [I also brought up buffs], and sometimes very anticlimactic. So it's absolutely a legitimate area where someone might prefer PF, the drawbacks of 5e are real. I personally prefer the short, very dangerous fights of 5e. Instead of tactics, it becomes a manner of strategy; avoiding fights, or setting up fights in a way where the scales are tipped.

The board game "Star Wars Rebellion" that came out the other year got criticized for the lack of interesting choices during space combats, yet those combats still had to be rolled out and couldn't easily be skipped or boiled down to one roll. But, when I played the game myself, I loved it. The way the combats are designed in it are themselves not that interesting, but they enable another very interesting choice: what do you bring to bear to the fight? Or, do you try to avoid the fight altogether. The combat mechanics makes "what ships should I build, and where should I place them?" very interesting choices. Once the forces do collide, it's a mechanical affair, but the game, zoomed-out, is very interesting and full of choices.

Now, obv 5e does have a lot more interesting choices in the combats than Rebellion does. We've had people hide under water breathing through reeds, and rooftop chases, and fights against living houses and a lot of "Oh, if only I had done that instead of this". Interacting with the environment etc etc. Grappling. Dungeon World is another game with basically only three things to do in combat ("Defy danger", "Hack&Slash" & shooting arrows I don't remember what that one's called) but the fights can be very varied and vivid if they involve the environments so much.

But that's just icing on the cake for me. The combats could be super boring (as per Labyrinth Lord and similar) and they'd still be valuable. For me, one of my best 5e moments was been when someone was unconscious and waiting out their 1d4 hours, and their fellow party member is waking beside them with like five HP remaining, with another one dead by their side, and they're all hidden under a bridge in the Caverns of Thracia listening to the footsteps of lizardmen walking above them. Hoping, hoping, hoping that they won't be discovered. Wandering monster rolls become a very relevant mechanic. "We wait here for five hours." "Are you sure? That'll be five encounter checks." "Ugh. We have to... Yeah, let's do it." So tense, so great.
The fast nature of 5e enables that fights can be a bit throwaway. I don't have to design the perfect set piece and maintain the dramatic curve perfectly. I can just put "2d4 skeletons" on an encounter table and it creates amazing tension.

Setting the DC after the roll
:( Yeah, that sucks. I think it's still in the DMG, which is... :( I used to do that when I was very young. Until I had more experience being on the player side of the screen. At our table now, we say DCs and even ACs before people roll. I really don't like the "more power to the DM" argument, I've don't see that as a positive. Thanks for the compliment. (I'm a lady btw.)

Different focus
PF and 5e are just... very very different games, and they both do a little bit of what the other does. 5e has some building, some mechanical crunch in the fights. I come from OSR games and for me the extra crunch in 5e is a very welcome addition. Compared to something like Lamentations where you're building a "specialist" and you're like... "Wait, that's it? That's all I get?", 5e is a cornucopia of mechanical feats and abilities and doodads, it's just nothing compared to PF. And PF of course does have lots of RP, character moments etc. It's just that their focus lie in different places. PF with the focus on builds, mastery and mechanical self-expression, 5e with the focus on freewheeling, fuzziness and a more freeform descriptive form of self-expression. Similar to Fate in many ways. In 5e, any two "Traits" work mechanically the same way. They give the same bonuses, they cost the same. But they impact the game differently. Same with 5e. A thief is different than a knight because they act differently. Of course, PF has that too. But 5e is satisfied with it, 5e says that the fluffy differences are enough, in a way that PF doesn't. Oh, a character can lead a dual life? Let's release a "Vigilante" class. Etc. And both approaches are very valid.


@2097

Sorry for the gender confusion on my part. As for 5e as a whole, I get the rules-lite approach, and think it's a good style of game, but for me 5e tries to do that while still being rules-heavy D&D of the past, which doesn't really mesh well for me. There's still feats, a massive list of spells in the back, big weapon list and so on.

There is definitely stuff I approve of, like Concentration is a good nerf to buff masters and CoDzilla, Advantage/Disadvantage is a good way to represent house rules moment of cool actions.

I also get the represnt difference through fluff vs represent through mechanics, and PF does do it too much. Ideally a middle-ground game between the two would be better IMO.


Saithor wrote:
I also get the represnt difference through fluff vs represent through mechanics, and PF does do it too much. Ideally a middle-ground game between the two would be better IMO.

Yeah, I can understand this. It's definitely a scale. For me, 5e hit the Goldilocks "Just Right" mark perfectly, I'm really smitten with the game and think there's nothing like it, other games either have too little (like Lamentations) or too much (like Pathfinder). But, that reaction is also partially caused by where I was in my roleplaying life back when 5e came out. Overwhelmed by 3e, even struggling w 4e, but beginning to understand B/X and already having a pretty good understanding of games like Fate, Dungeon World, Adventure System (i.e. the Castle Ravenloft board game) etc.

Also, veering in to off-topic a bit, but... I wanted to bring this up, here: More minimalist D&Ds like Searchers of the Unknown, Swords & Wizardry, and the aforementioned Lamentations of the Flame Princess — they don't put in the fluff tools to compensate for the lack of crunch. They don't have "traits" or "bonds". Back in the old days, people were even (reportedly) chided for making too much of a "character". "This isn't community theatre" people would say, the ideal being that you would be more or less yourself and the focus of the play would be on the dungeon and the traps and tools therein. As I've said, I still play with an OSR group (who systemhop a lot, we've done Lab Lord, Lamentations, DCC and some smaller ones in the local language). And I've noticed that these games, especially Searchers of the Unknown, are a DM's dream but the player's nightmare. They eliminate "snowflake play", especially mechanical self-expression. You're basically just a to-hit roll and some hp, a spell list if you're a caster and that's it. Now, some groups (like ours, thankfully) encourage adding on fluff on top of that, on your own w/o rules like "traits" & "bonds", while some discourage it, preferring the focus to be on the game world.

All that to say that lack of mechanical crunch doesn't automatically bring with it a focus on flavor to replace it. But, 5e does, in my experience so far. So there's that.

(Again, not a slight on those that prefer the self-expression to be mechanical rather than free text. It's a long scale from "clay" to "Lego-style bricks" and tastes differ where to land on that scale. Neither 5e nor PF is at either extreme end of that scale, both are somewhere in the middle. But far enough from each other to make comparing the two systems difficult.)


Yeah, I strongly favor something like Dungeon World over many OSR clones.


For me the Dungeon World classes are almost as anemic as the OSR ones. Higher power level, sure, but the same dearth of options. Of course, relative to PF, my darling 5e has a dearth of options. So, different sweet spots for different folks at different times in their lives I guess.


Dungeon World has ten levels and each level is a stat increase and a brand new class ability. At first level you have 2-3 class abilities. I'm not really sure what more you could ask for with an OSR type game.

I mean, it's not like Pathfinder gives that much more variety. Level one you have a feat or two and a class ability or two, and each level after you get one or two things - many of them stat increases.

5e has less than one ability per level.

EDIT

I will say the core playbooks are not plentiful or all that good compared to the third party ones.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

5E has no dead levels, if you count access to new spell levels.


hiiamtom wrote:
Dungeon World has ten levels and each level is a stat increase and a brand new class ability. At first level you have 2-3 class abilities. I'm not really sure what more you could ask for with an OSR type game.

That's a good point. Most of my experience with DW as a player, DM, and watching online games, have been with level 1. I haven't really gotten a fair view of what DW can do.

OTOH, I've played / ran a lot of 5e level one too, and even on level one, I think 5e has some interesting stuff.

I guess it's subjective. When DW and 5e are placed before me, both have appealing ideas (I've tried to port "lead with the fiction" over to 5e in many different ways, but only with varying levels of success) but the biggest reason I find myself reaching over to 5e is the classes.

Also the whole "you are the fighter" approach, I don't like as much. (Subjective, again.) I prefer "You are a folk hero [that just happens to be a fighter]".


I guess the best way I can describe it is:

• A Dungeon World class gives me a hammer and make the world looks like its made of nails.
• 5e gives me a couple of tools I can combine in various ways.
• OSR games give me jack. So I have to McGyver it.

Neither of the three approaches is perfect and they all afford their own mood.


SmiloDan wrote:
5E has no dead levels, if you count access to new spell levels.

That is true.

2097 wrote:

I guess the best way I can describe it is:

• A Dungeon World class gives me a hammer and make the world looks like its made of nails.
• 5e gives me a couple of tools I can combine in various ways.
• OSR games give me jack. So I have to McGyver it.

Neither of the three approaches is perfect and they all afford their own mood.

Fair enough, but OSR doesn't give you tools for anything and expects the GM to do 100% of the work while DW explicitly makes the GM react to the players. So if I had to describe it it would be:

  • DW gives your party a pile of legos and the GM has a sketched picture of what the final product should be. It's best when the DM lets the players build themselves something even better.
  • 5e give you several IKEA kits, and the DM tells you to decorate their house. It's best when the players get creative and they hack the kits into something unique.
  • OSR gives you a plot of land, and your GM tells you to not starve when winter comes. It's best when you get past the first winter and look back on your accomplishments.

  • RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    What is OSR?

    EDIT: Wikipediaed it.


    hiiamtom wrote:
  • DW gives your party a pile of legos and the GM has a sketched picture of what the final product should be. It's best when the DM lets the players build themselves something even better.
  • You were spot on about OSR & 5e, but I haven't gotten DW to work the way you describe it. But again, my experience has been with the basic playbooks at low levels. They just come off as a bit one-note to me, one very heavy note. Where OSR is a cembalo and 5e is a couple of jingles & loops you can mix together. I guess it's so subjective and it's been a while since I looked at DW's playbooks seriously. They just don't appeal to me... OK, I'll take a look at one of them now. The Fighter. The same four bonds every game. Choice of just three alignment goals. No really interesting class abilities. 5e has a bit more with its backgrounds. Not surprising since it was informed by, and followed, DW.

    SmiloDan wrote:
    What is OSR?

    Old School Renaissance. In this case we were talking about a couple of bare-bones games like Searchers of the Unknown, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Swords&Wizardry.

    Edit: Bare bones on the player's side, that is. They have a lot of DM tools—well, SotU doesn't, but it's meant as a drop-in replacement for other games' DM tools and modules. Some of those DM tools work well with 5e and Pathfinder, too! It's a real treasure trove.


    ryric wrote:


    Also a big downside for me is WotC dropping Gen Con. I know there are third party events being run, but it saddens me that all the seminars/previews/releases for D&D that used to happen are no more. It seems like a big step into obscurity for the company, while Paizo has basically picked up that mantle. To me, that's a big plus in the Pathfinder column.

    I don't think that Paizo is going to be increasing it's GenCon presence. What I do think is that Hasbro is tightening the belt on D+D's discretionary expenses.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    I think Wizards of the Coast are appearing at just as many conventions as they used to - they're just moving from GenCon towards the new HasCon.

    A couple of years ago they moved away from GenCon being their 'big convention' and moved more towards the various Pax-whatever conventions. Their presence at the last couple of GenCons was token at best (as far as I heard anyway - I've never been).

    Sovereign Court

    I believe the abandonment of gencon was explained as too much preaching to the choir. WOTC wants to focus on other growth opportunities.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    Instead of discussing 5th Edition vs Pathfinder, people should be discussing 5th Edition vs any other rules-lite fantasy game.

    As a rules lite fantasy game, I never found anything special about 5th Edition. I'd rather play OpenLegend or Numenera or any of the numerous fantasy games out there that not only are easy to learn, but also supported by well thought-out game mechanics that set it apart.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    SmiloDan wrote:

    5E has no dead levels, if you count access to new spell levels.

    It doesn't...but then again, it also lacks significant choices in what those abilities are and those abilities being significant in the first place. You get most of your playstyle defining stuff in the first three levels and the rest is a mixed bag from meh to cool just like Pathfinder.


    Cyrad wrote:

    Instead of discussing 5th Edition vs Pathfinder, people should be discussing 5th Edition vs any other rules-lite fantasy game.

    As a rules lite fantasy game, I never found anything special about 5th Edition. I'd rather play OpenLegend or Numenera or any of the numerous fantasy games out there that not only are easy to learn, but also supported by well thought-out game mechanics that set it apart.

    There is one thing 5e has over all those other rules light systems - people willing to play it.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Sundakan wrote:
    SmiloDan wrote:

    5E has no dead levels, if you count access to new spell levels.

    It doesn't...but then again, it also lacks significant choices in what those abilities are and those abilities being significant in the first place. You get most of your playstyle defining stuff in the first three levels and the rest is a mixed bag from meh to cool just like Pathfinder.

    You can choose Ability Score Increases and/or Feats; those are pretty significant choices; fighters and rogues get extra ASI/feats, so they get some more choice there, too. Obviously, spellcasters choose their spells. Many (though not all) classes have archetypes that also have choices, like Totem barbarians, Lore bards, sort of Moon druids (more wildshape options), Battlemaster fighters, Elemental monks, and Hunter rangers. Also warlock invocations provide a lot of choices.

    Of course, you can also multiclass. It's pretty easy for most characters to multiclass; I can see some wizards having difficulty multiclassing if none of their non-Intelligence (and non-Constitution) ability scores is over 13.

    But I guess one aspect of 5E is that choices have consequences. The decisions you make early in your character's career have repercussions throughout the lifetime of your character.


    Cyrad wrote:
    Instead of discussing 5th Edition vs Pathfinder, people should be discussing 5th Edition vs any other rules-lite fantasy game.

    We have been doing that. Take a look upthread. 5e is my favorite among the rules-lites, but it strikes a balance that I really appreciate but might be too much or too little for others.

    Cyrad wrote:
    As a rules lite fantasy game, I never found anything special about 5th Edition. I'd rather play OpenLegend or Numenera or any of the numerous fantasy games out there that not only are easy to learn, but also supported by well thought-out game mechanics that set it apart.

    This will become off-topic from the thread's theme of "What Pathfinder does better than 5e".

    I found 5e to have some innovative mechanics and some great twists on established mechanics that all come together very subtly to create something great and unique. I've compared it to Fate a couple of times.

    Fate was cool because it introduced the freeform "Aspects", and it had a consistent mechanical reward to interacting with the environment, scenes and NPCs. But, in my experience, the economy could be clunky and often broken down when players had no Fate points or when they had too many. It sometimes fell into a rhythm of nova spikes alternated with a rusty grind. And the skill levels became almost meaningless when you can throw four or five Fate points at something.

    Aspects were also hard to understand (at first) and could be hard to come up with. The idea of finding and invocating aspects in the environment also sometimes feels a bit synthetic. Her coat jacket isn't just burning, she has the "Coat Jacket on Fire" aspect.

    In 5e, there are character "aspects" in the form of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws. There are plenty of pre-written ones (in the form of the ready made "backgrounds") to get you started. And just like in Fate, you gain a metaresource by giving in to them. But the economy won't break down because it's capped at one. The bonus is legitimate, it's big, but it works with your ability score instead of overriding it.

    Scene aspects have also been made implicit. You might get advantage when shooting someone with a burning jacket. You don't have to "invoke the 'Coat Jacket on Fire' aspect", it's just the same mechanic, implied. In Fate, you can get free invocations from scene aspects that you've created or found. In 5e, you can get free advantage from same. In Fate, you can spend earned Fate points to get rerolls or bonuses. In 5e, you can spend earned inspiration at anytime to do the same, or give it to your friends.

    5e has removed some of the restrictions and added others, but I've found the economy to flow better in 5e and the game to be easier to impart and teach to new people. That's not a knock on Fate, it blazed the trail.

    I've also found that this system can fall away gracefully in 5e. In Fate, if you as a player deny a compel, you have to pay a Fate point. In 5e, nothing happens. You're free to do as you want. One of my first games with Diaspora we had a PC with the "drug addict" aspect. And he ran out of Fate points, over the course of a couple of sessions, denying various compels. I later realized that he had chosen the aspect in order to portray overcoming addiction, not giving in to it. In 5e, the presence of that flaw would've, just as in Fate, prompted a series of temptations. But in Fate, refusing the temptations set them back mechanically. I dunno, it's pros and cons I guess.

    It's just... looking over Fate Core or FAE and thinking "how would 5e handle this situation?" I consistently find myself drawn to 5e's sometimes very subtle, sometimes invisible solutions for the same thing.

    Another thing that turned me off a little bit from Fate was the "spend after your roll, to change the result" aspect of it. Now, I know it's a very common variant in 5e to allow inspiration to be used that way. But I've found that the default, spending it before you roll, works better for me for two reasons. First, it removes that "This happened! But... really... that happened!" sort of retconny, "60's Batman escaping the cliffhanger" moments. (Which some people like, and it does feel pulpy.) Second, it enables that little extra bit of evaluation, decision... "Do I put my all in this next roll, or not? Is this the moment that I care the most about?" Spending it before you roll makes it so that you can identify, and communicate to the whole table, which rolls you care the most about and it's an extra bit of agency. Spending it after you roll makes it more of a "OK, I guess my bacon did need saving then. Lucky I had points left." There's no real choice. Also, you know how roleplayers are often "Wow, nice job!" to each other after the dice land high. At first I was like "Hey, it wasn't my doing, the die landed randomly." After a while I realized this was sort of part of role play culture (somehow) and just started going "Thanks!". But, with spending inspiration beforehand, you can take some of the credit because you predicted accurately the value of that roll.

    There's a lot of very elegant, very emergent properties in 5e's design.

    A lot of subtle choices have been made in which abilities there are, and how they support each other. One of the first games I played in, there was a rogue at the table and we were playing "theatre of the mind". The rogue was dodging in and out of hiding, popping shots at the enemy with extra damage, in one scene. In another, they were darting back and forth, disengaging as a bonus action and getting the sneak dice in b/c their friend was fighting the same foe. I hadn't seen theatre of the mind fights, without any form of maps or minis, have so much life to it before. It was big room with two levels, too, and bridges; would've been hard to do in miniatures. The design of the rogue is perhaps not so subtle, but it's very emergent and only becomes clear once you start playing.

    Another thing is cool moves you can do in fights. If you like to make up tactics or try things like grappling, pulling, throwing boxes and plates etc etc, just go ahead -- 5e carefully avoid treading on your toes with things like the Battle Master's maneuvers. Like, if there is a feat in a game "If you have this feat, you can fight with two weapons" -- that immediately means that other character's can't fight with two weapons. Spring Attack from Pathfinder comes to mind. The existance of it means that the rule that you can't attack between moving becomes very important for everyone else to follow, lest they invalidate the investment of those that did choose Spring Attack. There's a lot of good things to doing it the PF way because you can mechanically self-express & explore when building your character. But, it makes the game very much more complex because you need to know all the feats and abilities that you don't have in order to know what you can't do. In 5e, not so much. The game can be simple to learn because they chose the feats and maneuvers so carefully to support a very simple rules skeleton.

    The booklet in the Starter Set is the game in a real sense. Pathfinder's Beginner Box is amazing for what it can do on a 3.5-derived chassis. But it does that by hiding away things like opportunity attacks (instead, there's a list you have to learn of things you just can't do when fighting with someone). But the Starter Set just teaches you the full game right away. I mean, that part is nothing new compared to The Black Hack, Numenera etc, that are also simple.

    Open Legend I wasn't familiar with. I've been out of the loop for a few months after we wrapped up Curse of Strahd. Open Legend being open source... That's important and I'm glad parts of 5e are OGL, and I wish more of it was. Fate, Dungeon World, Swords&Wizardry, Searchers of the Unknown and many others that we've already talked about in this thread are also open source, and so is Pathfinder. It comes across as a bit disingenious of them to present it as if it was the only one. "Our brand of canned peach doesn't have poison so choose it!" -- kind of throws shade at the other brands. Also, the name is a bit confusing; at first I thought it was a RuneQuest derivative. But, I'll need to check the game out. It came out three years after 5e so it may well have some improvements. Ofc, The Black Hack also came out after and I don't like it as much as 5e.


    Feats and multiclassing are variants.

    SmiloDan wrote:
    But I guess one aspect of 5E is that choices have consequences. The decisions you make early in your character's career have repercussions throughout the lifetime of your character.

    Early choices in PF can have consequences too.

    In practice, some people map out most of their PF character's build before they start.

    Honestly the existence of levels and drastic character improvement is to me a big problem with both games. It makes it hard to build big sandboxes that parties can traverse freely. Five ogres can be a TPK at low levels and a breeze at high levels. That's one thing I really liked with Diaspora; that you only swapped out your skills and aspects, you didn't really grow.


    2097 wrote:
    Early choices in PF can have consequences too.

    Whoops, forgot my main point — to admit that 5e classes seemingly do have very little choice as they develop, and grant that as something in PF's plus column. I want to remain able to take a neutral or even negative point of view toward my favorite game♥, and the mechanical sameyness of 5e classes is something that's often brought up.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    I think some of the sameyness is intentional. Everyone gets a feat at 4th level (unless they multiclassed), so when leveling up, it takes about the same time. 5th level is pretty big for many classes: A new significant spell level and/or Extra Attack. Rogues get a special defensive feature.... And it's the first proficiency bonus increase, so that's exciting!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    We may have different definitions of "exciting". +X to Y abilities are useful, yes. Exciting? Nah.


    I'm ok with a bit of mechanical "samey-ness" in 5e, because the differences tend to come out in personality and roleplay.

    In one game I was in, we had two land druids that couldn't be more different. In another game, there were 5 paladins out of 6 players. All of them were extremely different from each other.

    In a game I'm running right now, there are four fighters, and two of them are battlemasters. You can most certainly tell them apart.

    Maybe it's just the time I spent in the army, where everyone dressed identical and nearly had the exact same skill set, but I just really don't see two PCs having the same abilities to be an issue.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Sundakan wrote:
    We may have different definitions of "exciting". +X to Y abilities are useful, yes. Exciting? Nah.

    That was a bit tongue in cheek....


    bookrat wrote:

    I'm ok with a bit of mechanical "samey-ness" in 5e, because the differences tend to come out in personality and roleplay.

    In one game I was in, we had two land druids that couldn't be more different. In another game, there were 5 paladins out of 6 players. All of them were extremely different from each other.

    In a game I'm running right now, there are four fighters, and two of them are battlemasters. You can most certainly tell them apart.

    Maybe it's just the time I spent in the army, where everyone dressed identical and nearly had the exact same skill set, but I just really don't see two PCs having the same abilities to be an issue.

    Meanwhile in the game I'm running we've got two bow-wielding wood elves, one life cleric, one ranger, and the PCs/Players have a hard time telling them apart. :P

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Wait until hunter's mark and Extra Attack and Horde Breaker come on line....


    I definitely agree that it's player decisions in game that have the most effect in 5e rather than levelling up choices. That gives more freedom to play a character get how you want not less.

    As an aside, I fundamentally disagree with the principal that it's easier to die in 5e that pathfinder, particularly at low levels. The death saves mechanic means you have at least three rounds before you're a gonna, unlike pathfinder where a single crit at the wrong time can take you to -14 and kill you instantly. Plus the herbalist kit allowing automatic stabilisation means final death is rarer - in my experience.

    Also I don't get the forgotten realms hate. It just doesn't make sense to me. There are plenty of locations with minimal stuff written about them. You don't have to adventure in a Shadowdale, the 10 towns or Waterdeep. Very few other places have much detail that would cramp and DMs style. In addition the forgotten realms has specifically been chosen so it can be played in any time period. If you don't like the backstory, set you campaign before xxx problem comes into play.


    2097 wrote:
    2097 wrote:
    Early choices in PF can have consequences too.

    Whoops, forgot my main point — to admit that 5e classes seemingly do have very little choice as they develop, and grant that as something in PF's plus column. I want to remain able to take a neutral or even negative point of view toward my favorite game♥, and the mechanical sameyness of 5e classes is something that's often brought up.

    This was going to go in 'embarrassing gaming secrets' but fits here too ;)

    I'll admit this hasn't happened yet in 5E, but right now I don't think it'll be an issue...

    However, I have recently come to realize I HATE making characters in PF... Due to the glory that is Giantslayer, I'm on my third character by level 5.. and they are just sucking my soul away. My most recent character is a 5th level Dwarf fighter... and it took me three days to tweak, adjust and manage those combat feats and try to plan ahead just a little... My half-orc Alchemist took even longer at 1st level. (2nd level Swashbuckler Grippli wasn't too bad...)

    In 2E, all that time would have been spent on backstory and character. Making high level characters were FUN!!! Just a few decisions, place the numbers down... bask in it's awesomeness. Now the idea of working up a 15th level character by the next game night has me hyper-ventilating.

    I've only done one run through to 5th level in 5E so far... but mechanical sameyness... is a Plus mark in 5E for me ;)


    the 'customise everything' element that 3rd ed and to a greater extent Pathfinder has is a relatively new phenomena in d&d. Yet it seems to have become the standard. I can see why it is attractive but I also see Phantoms point that it has become incredibly la out intensive.

    There are twelve classes (plus 3rd party and UA trials) and three or four times that number of Archetypes. That is a lot of scope for customised characters particularly for a game that's only 2-3 years old.

    Keeping the integrity of the classes allows the game to be far more balanced. That is a massive plus for me. If the trade off is less variation than pathfinder well I consider 5e with its feats and archetypes a happy medium between pf and 1st/2nd ed.

    Incidentally I have no problem with a wizard if he has trained to throw a dagger all his life and is just as dexterous as a fighter being able to use it with the same accuracy. After all the fighter has trained with all weapons to the same level and is attacking two to four times faster. The fighter definitely doesn't suffer in 5e.


    The Sword wrote:
    The death saves mechanic means you have at least three rounds before you're a gonna

    Not really; if you roll a 1, you get two fails (that happened last session, RIP) and if the monsters keep hitting the falling body, you get extra fails. One or even two. Also you can autodie if the damage from one hit is equal to your current + your max. And if your current is zero...

    I.e if you have 14 hp current, 16 hp max, you die instantly if you take 30 dmg in one blow. Has happened in our group a couple of times.


    I'm talking about the normal cult and thrust of combat. Yes massive damage is there and the rule allows for cases of instant death - falling 400'ft, being crushed by a 10 tonne block.

    You should be able to die. No Pc should be invulnerable and lucky crits and an unlucky time can kill characters. Otherwise the game isn't heroic. The difference is in 5e it takes this extreme - rolling a 1, or suffering a massive crits to do this.

    As far as I'm concerned monsters continuing to strike unconscious characters is a douche move that I would never do as a DM unless there were no other standing targets or some overwhelming story reason why that character had to die. DMs that target fallen PCs in the face of other threats is turning the game into a them vs us situation.


    I was nitpicking against the "at least three rounds" thing. Sometimes you can die a lot sooner. We usually discuss the reasonable targets together; intelligent monsters more often turn towards non-fallen threats, some other monsters are more like forces of nature and will eat up their fallen targets right away. Like stirges.

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